[ENG] Review of Landing in Suspense by Passoverdance
Text: Medina Lau
The 2nd Arts Voyager: Landing in Suspense / Photo: Musphinx Creation (Photo provided by Passoverdance)
On April 16th -18th, in the McAulay Studio, Hong Kong Arts Centre, Passoverdance presented The 2nd Arts Voyager: Landing in Suspense – a dance education programme focused on nurturing choreographic talents and presenting their creations. This programme is targeted at non full-time art students who are enthusiastic about the pursuit of performing arts (contemporary dance), encompassing both technical and choreographic aspects. The works showcased thus came from choreographers of diverse backgrounds. One thing they all have in common – the love of dance. The evening was made up of the following pieces: Uncertain by Wendy Tang, Comma by Kalyn Fung, Undergone by Jessica Ho Tsz-kwan, Boundaries by Michelle Leung, Unspoken Rule by Stephanie Choi, Aftermath by Bowie Siu, The Way it Exists by Katie Chan Pui-yee, 1/1 by Gloria Pang Wai-yee and A Grain of Memory by Ara Cho. All were duos except Uncertain (solo) and Unspoken Rule (trio).
To dance and to choreograph relate essentially to two things - imagination and space.
A solo is a self-dialogue within one’s own imagination; a duo (or trio) is a dialogue within a shared imagination expressed through the use of space, including the “emptiness” - the "void". Physical movement, be it technical or theatrical, is like brush strokes taking place in real time within a given space. Different levels and intensity of movement - floor, aerial and in between, or static - in space depict the content of the dance piece. The majority of the pieces seemed to focus, on the plane surface level, within the dancers themselves. The use of the floor seen in Uncertain, Undergone and A Grain of Memory thus demonstrated more degrees of visual interest as well as depth.
The subject matter varied yet each piece was stamped with intense personal feelings, curiosity and fear, from both the choreographers and the dancers. Watching them was like witnessing their mind unfolding - deep yearnings and concerns, questioning the meaning of life, of art; seeking for growth and empowerment.
Emotion is the most powerful tool employed to invoke the conscious mind of the audience. Dancers’ physical and emotional involvement/interpretation in relationship to the space “become” meaningful. “Becoming” on stage brings the choreography to life, by conveying, communicating and connecting. In particular, Undergone, danced by Lau Ka-ming and Kwan Siu-pang had a number of such moments of “becoming”. The solo Uncertain danced by Ody Lee drew out the choreographer’s imagination and revealed glimpses of his own inner world.
In choreography, while the design of the dance steps/movement is crucial, the composition of the dancers with other stage elements is just as important. The path of development from A (beginning) to B (end) is, to me, the most interesting aspect. Amongst all the pieces, A Grain of Memory by Ara Cho is the most worth mentioning. The use of earth as stage set in such a confined space was bold and challenging. Conceptually and structurally this dance shows potential for further development.
The freedom for creation in the art of contemporary dance is vast; the potential blending of stage elements is abundant. There is so much choice yet it is easy to fall into “cliché alleyway”. It takes time and endeavour. To create is to enter into the process of meeting, refining and redefining oneself (and with others) internally and externally by fusing imagination with reality. At the time of the current pandemic, the outcome of this evening demonstrated the fruit of the artists’ persistence and diligence in the pursuit of dance creation. With a total of nine pieces, the programme lasted for more than an hour and a half without intermission. A wild thought came up afterwards - instead of the standard exit and entrance for each piece, what if there was a transition process created to join all the pieces of the evening together. The connection of the “differences” could be part of the totality.
All in all, “art is life - life is art”. There is no ending to the pursuit of heart and soul!
Dancer, choreographer and dance teacher in Hong Kong, Germany, Sweden and Finland; producer & collaborator for cross-cultural project with Aurinkobaletti in Finland; founder of dancelsewhere (舞 • 《軋》界). She travels extensively for dance to England, Europe and Canada and is a professional computer graphic designer
and accredited Yiquan instructor.
The 2nd Arts Voyager: Landing in Suspense
Choreographers: Katie Chan Pui-yee, Stephanie Choi, Kalyn Fung, Jessica Ho Tsz-kwan, Michelle Leung, Gloria Pang Wai-yee, Bowie Siu, Wendy Tang, Ara Cho
Reviewed Performance: 16 April 2020 20:00 McAulay Studio, Hong Kong Arts Centre